Julius B Lucks
University of California Berkeley, 2008-2011
Hertz Graduate Fellow
Harvard University, 2002-2007
Ph D, Chemical Physics
Cambridge University, 2001-2002
M. Phil, Theoretical Chemistry
Goldwater Scholar (2000-2001)
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 1997-2001
The Lucks group is interested in the bottom-up design and construction of sophisticated genetic systems with predictable function. While great strides in the technical ability to synthesize and assemble DNA have been made, the ability to design a genetic system from the ground up is in its infancy. Meanwhile, there has never been a greater demand for programmable genetic engineering to solve some of the world's most pressing problems in energy, ecology and medicine.
The Lucks group uses biomolecular engineering to ask fundamental questions at two levels. By focusing on RNA-based regulators of gene expression, the first question we ask is- How can we design RNA sequences to fold into specific RNA structures that regulate gene expression as desired? Using our designed RNA regulators as tools, in combination with other regulatory mechanisms, the second question is- What are the design principles of constructing gene regulatory networks out of well-characterized building blocks that have predictable function?
Our research is highly interdisciplinary and utilizes both wet lab and computational techniques. In the wet lab, we use methods spanning from molecular cloning and flow cytometric analysis to next generation RNA sequencing techniques to measure RNA structures in a massively parallel fashion. On the computational side, we complement our experiments with modeling of gene expression networks and biophysical models of RNA folding.
Through integrating these complementary perspectives and techniques, we seek creative, cutting-edge solutions to these biomolecular engineering problems.
Application of core chemical engineering concepts (thermodynamics, kinetics, transport) to the design principles of engineering biomolecular systems.
- 2012. "SHAPE-Seq: High Throughput RNA Structure Analysis." Current Protocols in Chemical Biology 4: 275-297. .
- 2008. "Toward scalable parts families for predictable design of biological circuits." Current Opinion of Microbiology 11 (6): 567-573. .
- 2012. "An RNA Mapping DataBase for curating RNA structure mapping experiments." Bioinformatics 28 (22): 3006-8. .
- 2006. "Crystallography on curved surfaces." PNAS 103 (33): 12323-12328. .
- 2011. "Multiplexed RNA structure characterization with selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension sequencing (SHAPE-Seq)." PNAS 108 (27): 11063-11068. .
Selected Awards and Honors
- Office of Naval Research Young Investigator (Office of Naval Research) 2013
- Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) 2013
- Young Faculty Award (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)) 2012
- James C. and Rebecca Q. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow 2012
- John and Fannie Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellow (Hertz Foundation) 2002
- BS (Chemistry), University of North Carolina, 2001
- M.Phil (Theoretical Chemistry), Cambridge University, 2002
- M. Sc (Physics), Harvard University, 2004
- Ph D (Chemical Physics), Harvard University, 2007